A Belgian prosecutor claimed Wednesday that the man who was fatally shot at a Brussels train station Tuesday after attempting to explode a suitcase of nails and gas canisters was not known to authorities as a terror suspect.
During his news conference Wednesday morning, Brussels federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said that the 36-year-old suspect, identified by the initials “O.Z.,” was of Moroccan origin and not known to be involved in terrorist activities. Van der Sypt did not indicate whether the suspect had a criminal record.
According to Van der Sypt, the would-be attacker entered Brussels Central Station in the Belgian capital at 8:39 p.m. carrying a suitcase. His suitcase caught fire five minutes later following a minor explosion. No one was injured in the incident.
With the suitcase in hand, the suspect ran down a flight of stairs toward a soldier and a train station employee and his suitcase exploded again.
The suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” and a soldier fatally shot him.
Van der Sypt corrected initial reports, noting that the suspect was not wearing an explosive belt as claimed, only carrying a suitcase containing nails and several gas canisters.
“It was clear he wanted to cause much more damage than what happened,” Van der Sypt said. “The bag exploded twice but it could have been a lot worse.”
The suspect’s home, located in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, was searched following the incident. Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said that additional raids are underway in the area.
A number of jihadist attackers have resided in Molenbeek, including the alleged mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, that left 130 people dead.
Belgium’s terror level remains at three following Tuesday’s attack, which signifies a serious and likely threat.
If you would like to receive Breaking News text alerts on a smartphone or tablet, download the DML APP which is completely FREE and easy to use. Go to the Google Play Store or the IOS App Store and search for DML APP. Be sure to keep the app’s notifications setting on. Another way to receive alerts is to text to 40404 the following message: follow @realdennislynch (be sure to put a space between the word follow and the @ symbol).
To see more stories like this, sign up below for Dennis Michael Lynch’s email newsletter.
Sign up to get breaking news alerts from Dennis Michael Lynch.
UPDATE: More details on attack at Brussels Central Station (photos)